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Peer effects and school design: An analysis of efficiency and equity

This paper estimates educational peer effects at the lower secondary level in Switzerland where different tracking systems coexist. Using a cross-sectional survey based on standardized questionnaires, the structure and magnitude of social interactions among classmates are analyzed. The results are used to find out if grouping students in a completely non-selective way could increase efficiency and equality of opportunity. Empirical findings suggest that mixing students in reading and science classes could enhance efficiency and equity while a similar practice in mathematics courses could only improve equity without any gain in efficiency.

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Paper provided by IRENE Institute of Economic Research in its series IRENE Working Papers with number 12-01.

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Length: 42 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:irn:wpaper:12-01
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  1. Mary A. Burke & Tim R. Sass, 2006. "Classroom Peer Effects and Student Achievement," Working Papers wp2006_02_02, Department of Economics, Florida State University.
  2. Giacomo DeGiorgi, 2008. "Be As Careful Of The Company You Keep As Of The Books You Read. Peer Effects In Education And On The Labor Market," Discussion Papers 07-054, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
  3. Laura M. Argys & Daniel I. Rees & Dominic J. Brewer, 1996. "Detracking America's schools: Equity at zero cost?," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 15(4), pages 623-645.
  4. De Paola, Maria & Scoppa, Vincenzo, 2009. "Peer Group Effects on the Academic Performance of Italian Students," MPRA Paper 18428, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  5. Fertig, Michael, 2003. "Educational Production, Endogenous Peer Group Formation and Class Composition – Evidence from the PISA 2000 Study," IZA Discussion Papers 714, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. Bonesronning, Hans, 2008. "Peer group effects in education production: Is it about congestion," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 328-342, February.
  7. Carman, Katherine Grace & Zhang, Lei, 2012. "Classroom peer effects and academic achievement: Evidence from a Chinese middle school," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 223-237.
  8. Andreas Ammermueller & Jörn-Steffen Pischke, 2009. "Peer Effects in European Primary Schools: Evidence from the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 27(3), pages 315-348, 07.
  9. Adele Atkinson & Simon Burgess & Paul Gregg & Carol Propper & Steven Proud, 2008. "The Impact of Classroom Peer Groups on Pupil GCSE Results," The Centre for Market and Public Organisation 08/187, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
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